Softball opens season in Maryland

The Geneseo softball team competed in the two-day Sea Gull Invitational 1-3 on Saturday March 9 in Salisbury, Md. to open its season.

In the first game, Virginia Wesleyan College – which was the No. 7-ranked team in the Atlantic region in May 2012 – outhit the Knights 10-8 in a 7-5 win.

Despite the loss, interim head coach Dave Sylvester said he considered the game exciting given Virginia Wesleyan’s ranking and development this season, with nearly a third of its games already completed going into the Sea Gull tournament.

Sylvester noted the strong defense of the infield and outfield as both squads played outdoors for the first time this season.

Due to the imbalance of seven upperclassmen to the seven sophomores and 10 first-years, the Knights’ infield was a new combination.

Sylvester said that although this infield is “extremely young and extremely inexperienced … in years-wise as far as college ball playing … they did pretty darn well.”

Senior co-captain Katie Gallagher returns to the mound after recovering from an ankle injury that resulted in surgery. First-year Corrin Spallone, a transfer from Nazareth College, split time with Gallagher in Maryland to lead the Knights’ youthful infield.

Sophomore Nicole Zimmerman and senior Alexa Salzman in relief will also play key roles in the pitching rotation.

“Between the four of those ladies we will have an experienced staff that we’re not going to get outpitched,” Sylvester said. With more than enough pitchers “it’s really going to be who’s hot on any certain day.”

Similar leadership is found in the outfield with returning starters sophomore Kayleigh Blersch and senior Lexi Williams in center field and right field, respectively.

Sylvester commended the outfielders’ impressive catches, especially in key situations.

“To step onto the field for the first time and make those same catches just shows how much experience those people are bringing with them,” he said.

In prior years, the Knights have first traveled to Clermont, Fla. during the college’s spring break. This time around, there are higher expectations, due to the team’s earlier Maryland trip, according to senior co-captain Jessica Steubing.

“Normally we’re going in cold to Florida not having been on the field at all, so [the Maryland trip] gave us an opportunity to work out some of the kinks so we have a better opportunity to go to Florida and perform at a higher level,” she said.

The Knights face eight teams from Monday March 18 to Friday March 22 before beginning SUNYAC play on Friday March 29 against No. 12 SUNY Plattsburgh.